March 14, 2017
Call Me Mara
"Don't call me Naomi," she told them. "Call me Mara, because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The LORD has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me." Ruth 1:20-21
Naomi was convinced that God had made her life miserable. Honestly, she had good reasons for such feelings. Her husband had died. Then her two married sons died, leaving no heir to carry on the family name. To express the feelings of her heart, Naomi changed her name to Mara, which means "bitter."
When a famine forced Naomi to return to her home in Judah, she kissed her daughters-in-law good-bye and started the long journey. But one daughter-in-law refused to leave Naomi. Ruth, so aligned with Naomi in spirit, left her family of origin and went with her mother-in-law. The rest is a story of God's love and grace. God had prepared a relative named Boaz who was waiting back home. Through Boaz, God redeemed Ruth and Naomi from their situation. Boaz married Ruth, and God blessed them with a son to carry on the family name. Through this line God sent King David and, later, His Son to redeem us from sin.
I admit that I don't always understand how God works. When Naomi changed her name to Mara, she wasn't exactly saying, "I know God loves me and will somehow work all this out for my good." But her story is yet another reminder that He always does. When you feel like changing your name to convey your feelings about God, just remember that He never changes His. God's name is always faithful. He will never leave you nor forsake you.
Father, for those whose hearts feel bitter toward You, surround them with Your faithful love. When we can't understand, give us that peace that passes human understanding. Remind us that You are always faithful. In Jesus' name. Amen.